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On thin ice: Why Prince William's weekend on the slopes has generated such bad headlines

The Duke of Cambridge has come under fire from the tabloid press recently. Credit: AP

If you've had a quick glance at some tabloid front pages this week, you'll know how a lads' skiing trip to Switzerland has left Prince William's reputation for hard work - well, on thin ice.

Few would deny a young father a weekend away from the family to let his hair down but when the Duke of Cambridge's holiday coincides with a big royal occasion back home, the headlines wrote themselves: "90-year-old grandmother puts duty first while her 34-year-old grandson went partying" (and others along a similar theme).

The entertainment website TMZ then published some pictures of Prince William on the dance floor of a nightclub in the Swiss resort of Verbier.

So the stories and pictures have come together perfectly for any tabloid editor who is looking to write a story about a 'lazy Prince' who is uninterested in his duties and responsibilities elsewhere.

(Many dads of a certain age dance just like Prince William in that online clip but they don't have to suffer the 'dad dancing' pictures and videos being sold to, and plastered all over, a US website).

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So, should we care about any of it?

In part, yes.

The Duke is the second in line to the throne.

He was born into a life of privilege and wealth that most people could only dream of and in return he has to carry a burden of responsibility.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Horse Guards Parade earlier this month ahead of the unveiling of a national memorial. Credit: PA

Be that to visit charities, to support campaigns on issues close to his heart and, yes, to turn up for big national occasions when they arise.

Like Commonwealth Day. A celebration of a group of nations - with its roots in the British Empire - which the Queen has championed since she took the throne in 1952.

On Commonwealth Day this year, Prince William's elderly grandparents launched a baton relay for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and they also attended a service at Westminster Abbey.

As did Prince William's father, the Prince of Wales.

And his brother, Prince Harry.

And his uncles, the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex (Princes Andrew and Edward).

William, however, had hit the slopes and, hours before Commonwealth Day, he went clubbing with friends.

So you can see the problem.

The Queen attends the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. Credit: PA
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall alongside Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland. Credit: PA
Prince Harry shakes a girl's hand outside Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day. Credit: PA

But why shouldn't the Duke have a holiday?

He's got a young family, he does carry out a number of duties.

In just the last couple of weeks, the Duke launched an award in his name: the Prince William Award, he fronts the Heads Together Campaign mental health campaign with his wife, Kate, and at the end of this week, the couple are travelling to Paris for a two-day tour where they'll shake lots of hands and fix a smile on their face - all at the request of the Foreign Office.

Prince William did return to his other job on Tuesday.

He currently works as a pilot for East Anglia Air Ambulance.

The Duke of Cambridge has already announced he will leave that job in the summer and become a 'full time' royal when he and Kate move back to London in September.

Flags on display in Westminster on Commonwealth Day. Credit: PA

Perhaps, in Kensington Palace, there are too few members of staff who will say things the young princes don't want to hear.

And so when Prince William was planning his weekend away on the ski slopes, should someone have said "hang on, you can't go on the same weekend as Commonwealth Day, you know how that much means to the Queen...?"

But he did hit the ski slopes and certain newspapers have made it quite clear what they think of the Prince's dedication to his day job.